Nigeria Unemployment Rate (Quarterly)

Period Labour Force Population Full time Employed Unemployed Unemployment rate Under employment rate
Dec 2020 69675468.00 30572440.00 23187389.00 33.3 22.8
Jun 2020 80291894.00 35585274.00 21764.62 27.1 28.6
Sep 2018 90470592.00 51326654.00 39143938.00 23.1 20.1
Jun 2018 89509201.00 51173758.00 38335442.00 22.7 20.1
Mar 2018 88206724.00 51154482.00 37052242.00 21.8 20.2


The unemployment rate as at Q2, 2020 stood at 27.1%, indicating an increase compared with the Q3 2018 figure of 23.1%, the last time it was released.

The report indicated that the current rate increased by 4% pooints compared with the previous rate. Compared with the unemployment rate in Q3, 2017 (18.8%) that increased by 4% points to 23.1% in Q3, 2018, there has been an upward movement in the unemployment rate.

A rise in the unemployment rate is not entirely equivalent to an increase in job losses. Rather, an increase in unemployment can occur as a result of several reasons, of which loss of an existing job is just one. A rise in unemployment generally means the number of people searching for jobs has increased.

Coupled with the isssue of COVID-19, the incidence of high unemployment in Nigeria can also be attributed to the slow pace of job creation, which has been considerably weaker than labour force growth. Between 2014 and 2019, full employment decreased by 33%, whereas labour force grew by of 12%.

A further reason for the surge in the number of unemployed may also be attributed to the fact that the Nigerian economy is still recovering from recession which slowed down productivity in 2016, thereby leading to job losses. The unemployment rate has consistently been on the rise since then, and has increased by 13% points to date.

Data Source: Nigeria Bureau Statistics

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